A total of 503,161 illegal foreign workers were legalised under the Comprehensive Legalisation Programme for Illegal Immigrants (6P) programme as of 30 Nov last year. Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said they were part of the 619,661 illegal foreign workers who had applied to be legalised. Among the top five nationalities legalised were from Bangladesh (202,971), Indonesia (201,237), Myanmar (48,855), India (17,551) and Nepal (10,717). (Bernama)
The government is studying on setting only one rate for levy on foreign workers in all sectors to curb their movement from one sector to another. Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the problem was partly due to employers' inability to pay the levy in certain sectors. The government had imposed different levies, with RM470 on the agriculture sector, RM1,250 on the manufacturing sector and the highest, RM1,850, on the service sector. (Bernama, The Star)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is conducting a feasibility study on Indonesia's idea on the roll-on roll-off (RORO) vessel connectivity in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT). IMT-GT chairman, Datuk Faudzi Naim Noh, said the study, under the grouping's Implementation Blueprint for 2012-2016, was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- JICA is expected to come out with the guidelines on the sort of vessels and jetties needed because they do have such a model in Tokyo, Europe and the Philippines, he said.
- “If the study is correct, it will involve an investment of over RM100m as I can see the price of each vessel is about US$30m (RM95.7m) each," he said.
- The first part of the study, which started a year ago, has been completed and the IMT-GT Joint Business Council (JBC) has been invited for a briefing on the first part of the report.
- The JBC has invited JICA to come to Penang to present the first part of the report to the Penang shipping and logistics stakeholders. (Bernama)
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ahmad Maslan has defended the 1BestariNet project, which involves the provision of high-speed internet service for 10,000 schools, saying that it cost the government RM663m and not RM9bn as alleged. This, however, comes as a surprise as previous announcements by government officials had tagged the 1BestariNet project at a total of RM4.5bn to be carried out over 15 years. He said the YTL group was awarded the project based on an open tender. (Financial Daily)
The government will be assisting some 1m rural youth who are either underemployed or unemployed. Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said most of them who were jobless were school dropouts and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia school leavers who did not have the opportunity to further their studies.
- There were 13m youths in the country, of whom 3.4m lived in rural areas. From the total, 2.4m had jobs while 1m were unemployed.
- The ministry's empowerment strategy for youth included providing various initiatives via all the agencies which came under the ministry.
- The initiatives include expansion of access to training in high-value fields and boosting entrepreneurship. With the training, youths can earn between RM3,000 and RM4,000 a month. (NST)
The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) now offers Felda settlers another industry — commercial sturgeon farming — as an additional economic means of developing the community. A RM120m sturgeon farm will soon take shape in Pahang, creating a huge economic impact for 1,300 Felda settlers and their families, who are mostly engaged in the oil palm industry.
- The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) and the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation will act as Felda’s strategic collaborative partners in this project.
- With a market price of between US$3,000 and US$5,000 (RM9,550 and RM15,900) per kg, the project is expected to generate a monthly income of around RM10,000 for Felda settlers, with a payback period of seven years.
- At full production capacity, the farm can produce up to 30 tonnes of caviar per year, with a potential revenue of nearly RM100m.
- Construction of the sturgeon farming complex will commence next year and is expected to be ready in 18 to 24 months. (BT)
The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has attracted RM49bn worth of investments since it was launched five years ago, generating 40,000 jobs.
- In the first six months of the year, ECER has attracted RM23.64bn worth of investments, surpassing ECERDC's 2013 investment target of RM15bn.
- It is on track to attract another RM10bn investments this year.
- Pahang attracted the largest investment amount to date with RM23.31bn, followed by Terengganu (RM18.62bn), Kelantan (RM5.79bn) and the district of Mersing (RM1.61bn).
- Among the critical projects that have been identified by East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) for this year are the Kuantan Port expansion, Kertih Biopolymer Park, Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) and Kuala Terengganu City Centre. (BT)
Malaysia can achieve its target of having 50% of its workforce highly skilled by 2020, said Human Resource Minister Datuk Richard Riot. He said at present only 28% of the country's 12m workforce was highly skilled.
- While increasing the number skilled workers through vocational institutions such as industrial training institutes, the ministry is taking steps to reduce dependence on foreign labour, he said.
- He expressed his confident that the number of foreign workers would be reduced gradually with the implementation of minimum wage in Jan next year. (Bernama)